Pedestrian Crash Deaths Surged 15% Across Texas Last Year

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Pedestrian deaths are surging nationwide, and Texas is no exception.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, an estimated 7,485 pedestrians were killed in the United States in 2021. That represents an increase of 12% over the prior year when 6,711 pedestrian fatalities were reported.

New Mexico recorded the highest death rate per 100,000 residents at 4.77, and Nebraska had the lowest at 0.76.

At 2.79 deaths per 100,000 residents, the Lone Star State had the 11th highest rate in the nation, just after Delaware and Nevada.

841 Pedestrian Deaths Reported in Texas Last Year

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT),  at least 5,366 crashes across the state involved pedestrians last year. Those accidents caused 841 pedestrian deaths, a 15% increase compared to 2020  An additional 1,470 pedestrians were seriously injured.

“Year after year, we’re seeing fatalities from traffic crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists climb,” TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams stated in a press release. “Each of us has a shared responsibility to help reverse this trend. Whether you’re behind the wheel, on foot or riding a bicycle, we’re asking all Texans to be safe and smart, and that starts with obeying traffic laws.”

Because pedestrians don’t benefit from protective equipment like airbags, seat belts, and bumpers, they are among the most vulnerable on the road. In most cases, pedestrian deaths and injuries are the result of:

  • Pedestrians failing to yield the right-of-way to vehicles.
  • Driver inattention.
  • Drivers failing to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
  • Speeding

Texas Moves to Prevent Pedestrian Accident Deaths

Last year, Texas enacted the Lisa Torry Smith Act.

Named for a Texas mom who was struck and killed in a crosswalk nearly five years ago while escorting her then 6-year-old son to school, the law requires drivers to stop and yield the right of way to people on crosswalks. Those who fail to do so can face criminal penalties in the event a pedestrian sustains serious injury.

To prevent a deadly encounter, TxDOT reminds all drivers to:

  • Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
  • When turning, yield the right of way to pedestrians.
  • Be cautious when passing stopped buses or other vehicles.
  • Pay attention and put your phone away so you’re always prepared if pedestrians enter your path.
  • Follow the posted speed limit and drive to conditions.

Pedestrians are also urged to:

  • Cross the street only at intersections or crosswalks. Look left, right, then left again before crossing.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing. Don’t assume drivers see you.
  • Obey all traffic and crosswalk signals.
  • Use the sidewalk. If there is not one, walk on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic.
  • When walking, put away electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road.

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